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  • Institute for Physical Therapy Education

    • Cottee Hall
    • tel: 610-499-1277
    • fax: 610-499-1231
  • Jill D. Black, PT, DPT, EdD

    • Interim Associate Dean and Program Director
    • Cottee Hall, Room 115
    • tel: 610-499-1277


Curriculum, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Video Highlight

Instructional Videos for Chinese Orphanages

Physical therapy and communication studies students created instructional videos for physical therapists working in Chinese orphanages on how to facilitate motor development in children. Watch video.

The curriculum model for the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program is organized so that each course draws on concepts and knowledge from previous courses and student experiences.

Supervised clinical experiences, the community health practicum, and the student-run pro bono clinic also offer students an opportunity to learn based on realistic cases and clients.

This integration of clinical observation, extensive classroom experiential learning, and experiences in the student-run pro bono clinic strengthens students’ analysis and understanding of information.

Degree Requirements

  • Complete at least 120 credits of approved graduate coursework
  • Have a cumulative GPA of B (3.0) or better
  • Successfully complete all clinical practice courses
  • Pass all laboratory exercises and examinations
  • Pass the comprehensive examination upon completion of coursework

Sample Courses

View a selection of first year courses students take in the DPT program.

PT 708 Anatomy

This course covers the study of human anatomical structures as they relate to movement, physiological demands of activity, and exercise. Specimens, models, and videos aid a regional approach to the study of structures. The course consists of both lectures and laboratory experiences with pro-section and cadaver dissection.

PT 724 Clinical Practice I

This course, with its emphasis on clinical practice, initiates an understanding of the full role of the physical therapist based on focused and directed clinical experiences. Topics include the development of professional behaviors, self-assessment/reflective practice, clinical reasoning and decision-making in physical therapy, and the development of expertise in physical therapy. Students spend 30 hours observing in various local clinics.

PT 727 Musculoskeletal System I

This course focuses on the normal and abnormal physiology of the musculoskeletal system in the practice of physical therapy. A review of select musculoskeletal conditions address the incidence/prevalence, etiology, clinical signs and symptoms, differential diagnosis, diagnostic imaging procedures, medical/surgical/pharmacologic management, as well as prognosis and potential for recovery for selected conditions. This course is used to build a foundation for courses later in the curriculum that will address the examination, evaluation, and intervention of patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

PT 728 Cognitive Neuroscience

This course provides a basis for understanding the role of cognitive neuroscience in the practice of physical therapy. Topics that will be discussed in the context of normal and abnormal function include attention, memory, language, executive function, and motor learning in typical and patient populations.

PT 730 Client Management I

This course consists of basic interventions administered by a physical therapist in a clinical setting. The course includes basic gait training, physical modalities, transfers, safety procedures, massage, and documentation, including electronic documentation. Lecture and laboratory components prepare students for direct patient care.

For more information about courses and requirements for the doctor of physical therapy, please refer to the course catalog.